Naperville Half Marathon Recap

Time is running away from me! I’m behind on writing up this race recap for my most recent half marathon!

I talked some about it here, mostly just the day and night before the race.  I have now learned that you should not go wedding dress shopping the night before a big race… when you try to sleep your mind is thinking about pretty white dresses rather than letting you to go to bed!

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I did manage to get some sleep, but morning still came to early. I piled on a bunch of clothes, grabbed my gear and my overnight oats and climbed into the car. I got dropped off near the race and went to finding my running group. One by one we found each other as we hung out in the nearby high school gym AKA warming room for the runners. After one last trip through the port-a-potty line, we got into a start corral.

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After the national anthem, we were off! There was music playing around the start area, and the song was Fireball by Pitbull. Love. That. Song. And all other Pitbull.  It caused me to run-dance for quite a while in the beginning, and then random moments throughout the rest of the race. #noshame

After about a mile or so, I shed my outer layer.  During my first half I learned the wonder of throw away clothes.  Prior to that I thought it was silly, and then I was stuck running the last 8 miles with a zip up tied around my waist. Live and learn.  Before long, we passed the first water stop… two miles down!  We decided against stopping; we weren’t thirsty yet.  By mile three I decided that the first two miles went faster than the third.  It must have been the inital dancing session to Pitbull that distracted me. 😉

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We started winding through some neighborhoods, and there were people everywhere!  It was a lot of fun to see all the support.  We were checking off miles at a pretty good pace!  Before I knew it, we were almost to mile 7.  I was excited for mile seven because I knew I had some spectators there 🙂 After a quick hug, I continued on.

Then mile 8 happened.  Yikes.  The tired began to happen just before mile 8.  Just enough to know it was there, and that feeling of dread knowing that more tired is coming. Ha!  We had been walking through water stops, but this was the first one where my legs were giving a little resistance to starting again.  About half a mile or so after the water stop we ran on the road that runs next to the prairie path where we had been training!  It felt good to be on home turf (well, next to it), and I got a a burst of energy.

However then there was a hill.  And it just kept going up! And my happiness was going down.  Then someone shouted my name! A fellow runner I know!  Spirits lifted!  If it it isn’t apparent, just before mile 8 to just after mile 10 was a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

We slurpped up some water at the mile 10 water stop and got back to running.  “Just a 5K to go!”  If this makes you feel better, I am happy for you.  This makes me want to go all interrupting starfish on the speaker of this sentence.  5Ks can be hard, too! And generally I don’t do 10 miles as my warm up!

However it was right around here I realized just how fast we were going.  As a side note, if you ever see me running with a scrunched up thinking face, I’m probably trying to do pace math. This was probably happening at this point.

Our group of 4 runners ended up splitting into 2 groups of 2.  The two fasties split off as I continued to try to focus on math and not hwo much my knees and hips were hurting.

Everything after mile 10 blends together a little.  Somewhere in there was a man grilling on the side of the road.  Grilling bacon for runners.  Heck yes I had some bacon!  Was greasy bacon the most effective mid-race fuel?  Um… perhaps not.  But mental fuel? Heck, yes!  It’s bacon!  I think I nibbled on it for at least half a mile, making sure I wasn’t totally going to ruin my stomach with it.

I do remember a glorious downhill.  I was so very excited to run down.  Around said downhill, I realized that a 2:10 MAY be in my grasp and I tried to push it.  I ditched my water belt when I saw my family in an attempted to lighten my load.  (I ruined all of the pictures my mom tried to take – I felt SO BAD.  I’m taking off my belt in all of them!)

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I caught up to my two fasties that took off earlier as we were nearing the finish line.  Then there was an uphill. From maybe 12.8 miles to about 13.0 we had to run up.  Evil.  But I made it up the hill!  And could see the finish!  And I ran as fast as I could, which wasn’t very fast at this point! Haha! I flew across the finish line! YAY I’m done!
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Then my legs nearly collapsed.  That’s the sign of a good race, right? I got my medal, and found my family who saw me finish.  And who were all standing there thouroughly impressed that I managed to cut off SIXTEEN MINUTES from my time!  Craziness.
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I found my running mates, we all gloated together, took some pictures and found some food.  I won’t plaster their faces all over the internet though 🙂
At this point, it got pretty cold!  The wind picked up a lot, and I was shivering as I was drinking my post race beer.  But I earned that beer! It was from a local brewery and I knew it was going to be good.
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I still cannot believe I managed to finish this race in 2:11:36.  My previous time was 2:27 and change!  I went from an 11:14/mile pace to a 10:02!  If I wasn’t so excited about that pace, I might be upset I missed 10 minutes by OH TWO!  Guess I’ll have to find another race and try again! 🙂
I’m going to link up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday (racing is always a treat!) as well as Jessica Joy and Jill for the Fit Dish.  The Fit Dish topic for the week is fitness accomplishments, and this PR was a HUGE accomplishment!

Treat Yourself Tuesday: The Best Treat Ever!

It’s been a while since I’ve linked up with Becky over Olives ‘n’ Wine and Treat Yourself Tuesday!  I’m never any good at remembering to take pictures, so these are some random snaps from over the past few weeks.

A few Fridays ago at work I decided I earned a treat in the form of this delicious drink.  All that sugar, it’s definitely a few and far between treat 🙂

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That same night, the boyfriend and I went for a walk at a local arboretum and were treated to this beautiful sunset.

mortonI was then treated by the boyfriend fiance to the best surprise EVER.  Don’t mind the terrible picture… it was dark and selfies are hard when you’re SO EXCITED.  I’ve been dating this amazing man for nearly four and a half years, and I could not be more happy!

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All this excitement was followed by celebratory pizza! And beer! And wine! And ice cream!  (And followed the next morning by a rough 12 mile run…)

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Since that wonderful evening?  I’ve been all-the-wedding-things! Somewhere in between my dream wedding and reality 🙂

One dream? The Palmer House Chicago.  This building is just gorgeous.  Did you know that brownies were invented at the Palmer House?  Mrs. Palmer requested a dessert for a group of ladies during the Chicago World’s Fair and the Palmer House chefs came up with a brownie.  See?  It’s a great place.

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Another dream?  The Chicago Cultural Center.  This dome?  Amazing.

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And with that, I’m back to day dreaming.  I’ll come back to reality… sometime… maybe 🙂

What is your fantasy wedding location?

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Weekend of Sports!

This weekend was dubbed by the boyfriend and I as the Weekend of Sports. Which when said out loud, should always be said “Weekend of Spoooooooorts!”

Friday night we ended up with some slightly last minute Blackhawks hockey tickets. This is only the second time I’ve been able to go to a Blackhawks game, and it was just as fun as last time! However they’ve lost both times we’ve gone, so I guess there’s room for improvement. 😉

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Saturday morning I drug my post-late-night-hockey-game butt out of bed to go sneak in 10 miles before beginning Saturday’s festivities. I crawled home, and got ready in slow motion (seriously, who can hurry after running 10 miles?) to head up to Milwaukee to meet my parents.

First stop (after Dunkin black coffee, of course) was the Miller Brewery tour! We have gone on micro-brewery tours before, but never one of this size. Um… WOW! Obviously Miller-Coors produces and ships out a lot of beer, but they ship out A LOT OF BEER. This specific facility ships in a 4 state-ish radius. An entire FOURTY PERCENT of the beer they produce goes to the city of Chicago. After this statistic there was much cheering. There were a few Chicagoans in the crowed as there was a Brewers-Cubs game in a few hours about 10 minutes away. Our next stop! The end of the tour was sampling… woo hoo! And it was a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy some delicious beer.

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Then… baseball! This is the weekend of sports, after all. The Brewers even won! Not that it really matters, they effectively eliminated themselves from the playoffs last week, but considering it was the Cubs, any victory is sweet. After SO MANY MONTHS leading the division. #Stillbitter. But it was still fun, for being so high up, the seats were pretty great!

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The weekend of sports continued Sunday with the Packers-Bears game. But no… we didn’t actually go to this one. We spectated from the couch. Which was probably good, weekend of sports is exhausting! However… I was invigorated after a PACKERS WIN! Sorry, not sorry! Boyfriend on the other hand… extremely disappointed.

And now after all those sports and the accompanying sports food, I need to reintroduce water over beer, and green food over… all the friend things. But it was a fantastic weekend full of treats, perfect for linking up with Becky at Olives ‘n’ Wine and Treat Yourself Tuesday! Head on over there to see how other people are treating themselves!

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Labor Day

It is the day after a holiday weekend.  Of course there were treats!  I am going to link up with Becky over at Olives ‘n’ Wine to recap my holiday weekend of fun!

Saturday (post-long run) the boyfriend and I headed into the city to to go to Finch’s Beer Company in Chicago.  We had booked a tour and tasting of the brewery.  On the tour we learned a little about the history of the company, like that they are about three years old.  We got to see their production and canning facility as well.  And of course there was a tasting, during which we learned a little about each of their beers.  Unlimited tastings by the way.  Yum!  After Finch’s we tried to go on a tour of Revolution Brewing as well, but their tours are first come first serve, and we were no where near the first to come.   Of course we had a beer before we left though 🙂  After getting home, we rounded out the day with Greek salads for dinner and a few episodes of West Wing.

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Sunday had a leisurely start, and I was able to make myself a breakfast feast, which I don’t often have time to do!  After church, we floated in the pool and read all afternoon.  Considering it was Labor Day weekend, we are probably running out of time to do this!

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Monday we had zero plans.  We rolled out of bed and tried to go to Whole Foods for breakfast.  Unfortunately… their breakfast is only on weekends!  Who knew?  Not me!  I do now though.  I was so bummed!  I was really looking forward to their french toast…  Instead we headed off to another bunch place at the recommendation of his aunt.  Everything was very tasty (and was enough food to be my lunch today at work, too).  The fruit was oddly delicious.  I am normally not a fan of grapes, but these were SO good!

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There was more family time, some Starbucks and some more reading by the pool to complete the wonderful weekend.  Earlier this week I finished The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling).  It is the second in her Cormoran Strike mysteries, and they were both SO good.  I was bummed it was over when I finished it, so I started re-reading (for the 4 millionth time) Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone.  So fun!

Today… back to work.  But it’s only a four day week now!  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

 

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